VRChat, the virtual reality platform where furries beat the sh*t out of Mark Zuckerberg‘s legless wonderland, is introducing creator monetization.
“VRChat has a lot of creators–avatar and world makers, streamers, roleplayers, comedians, actors, musicians, dancers, and many, many more,” it wrote in a May 18 blog post. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could easily support them from within the VRChat client–maybe even helping them turn their hobby into something that could help pay the bills?”
VRChat was founded by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey in 2014, and says it’s been working on adding monetization “for the last few years.” It reportedly has a user base of around 8 million people, and Steam trackers consistently show it having between 15,000 and 30,000 concurrent players at any given time. (Those trackers don’t show players logging in on platforms other than Steam, so its actual total concurrent player numbers are higher.)
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Its flagship monetization method is a Groups system, which seems similar to things like Twitch’s channel subscriptions and YouTube’s channel memberships. Players who pay to join a creator’s Group can get access to special roles, perks, and features.
“World creators will be able to code in different features that dynamically change based on purchased group roles,” VRChat said. “So, for example, if you have a specific role, you might gain access to a certain room or item that you might not otherwise have access to.”
Creators could also use Groups to run invite-only gatherings or events, it added.
Groups are being introduced in a closed beta with between 10 and 20 VRChat creators based in the U.S. The beta period will be longer than betas for other features, and “[i]t’s likely that it won’t be until later this year that it’s released to everyone,” VRChat said.
While Groups is the only monetization feature being rolled out to beta for now, VRChat said it’s aware avatar creators want an on-platform system where they’re able to advertise and sell their custom 3-D models to other users.
“We’d like to streamline that process, and we have some good ideas for how to do so, but that’s something that will likely come after the initial release of the Creator Economy,” it said. “We’ll be pushing out the Groups-centric systems first.”